WordPress and Activecampaign Tutorial [PART 4 EMAIL MARKETING SERIES]
Welcome to the final entry for the four part email marketing series! In the first three parts I walked you through the pros and cons of using MailerLite, Mailchimp, and ConvertKit as your email service provider. Part 4 is all about WordPress and ActiveCampaign, my absolute favorite paid email marketing platform. Let me explain to you why!
Missed the first three parts of this four part series?
Why Choose ActiveCampaign as Your Email Service Provider?
ActiveCampaign is way more than an email marketing platform. It’s also a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. You can read Salesforce’s definition of CRM here or just know that ActiveCampaign is a one stop shop for maintaining your relationships with your customers regardless of where they are on their journey with you and your business. (Email marketing platform on steroids.)
Pros of ActiveCampaign
There are so many amazing things about ActiveCampaign but let’s touch on the major pros.
Automations, Automations, Automations
ActiveCampaign is all about automation which is music to a business owner’s ears. There’s nothing that kills your motivation faster than doing the same thing over and over again. Especially when it would be super simple to automate.
Automations are easy to set up using ActiveCampaign. Some standard automations I’ve helped my clients set up on ActiveCampaign include welcome sequences, webinar sequences, and online course sequences (all of which can integrate together if someone happens to watch the webinar linked in the welcome sequence and purchase the online course at the end of the webinar). It’s amazing how much time you can get back in your day when you do one thing: automate.
Analytics are important. (So important that I’ve written a blog post about how using Google Analytics can help you make decisions in your business.) Analytics aren’t only useful for your website but also for the emails you’re sending. Is that subject line is working? Check the analytics. How many people opened your last campaign and clicked through on a link? Check the analytics. Wondering where most people are dropping out of your automations? CHECK. THE. ANALYTICS.
ActiveCampaign has the most powerful reporting tools I’ve come across in an email service provider. I make sure all of my clients have up to date data on their email campaigns and automations so we can tweak things when needed. And when it comes down to it, some of my clients get better reporting and more insight because they’re on ActiveCampaign.
Running tests to see what works and what doesn’t is another piece of the online business puzzle that ActiveCampaign helps with. Like ConvertKit, you can test subject lines and send times as well as body content. Running A/B tests and comparing one version of an email to another drastically improves your open rates, click through rates, and sales when you put the results into action.
Remember, running an A/B test really doesn’t matter whatsoever if you don’t take the time to check the analytics.
I always compare ConvertKit to Mailchimp – OK platform, gets talked up more than it should, and not very user-friendly. And then I always compare ActiveCampaign to MailerLite – amazing platform, doesn’t get talked up as much as it should, and is ridiculously user-friendly.
ActiveCampaign is like MailerLite 2.0 (so if you’re like me and love MailerLite, imagine that platform times 10… amazing) which means everything is intuitive and makes sense. Sure there may be things you’ve never seen before because it’s an ESP and CRM platform combined, but you’ll be able to figure it out.
Drag and Drop
Like I said, ActiveCampaign is MailerLite 2.0 so you can only expect that campaigns/newsletters are created using a drag and drop editor. This means it’s easy to make beautifully designed emails that match your branding AND convert.
Cons of ActiveCampaign
I’m going to be honest… I had to Google “cons of ActiveCampaign” because I personally don’t see any cons besides the price (which in a way isn’t really a con). Funny thing is, the first pro and con article I read about ActiveCampaign after that search had only 1 con. ActiveCampaign really is the best!
ActiveCampaign is expensive and doesn’t have a free trial. So you’re either in or you’re not. Your plan price is determined by the level of service you want in combination with the number of subscribers you have. I said this isn’t really a con, let me explain why.
ActiveCampaign is a one-stop-shop for email marketing and customer relationship management. Other tools you have like Salesforce can be eliminated by ActiveCampaign. It’s worth the high ticket price if you have services that can be automated.
(The Lite version doesn’t have good reporting and analytics. If you’re going to sign up with ActiveCampaign you NEED good reporting and analytics so don’t purchase a plan any lower than the Plus plan.)
Again, this isn’t really a con but what do you write about in a “con” section if there’s nothing bad about a platform?
ActiveCampaign is an advanced platform. This means if you’re looking for something simple or you just need to send out a different campaign once per week, ActiveCampaign isn’t worth the cost (go with MailerLite in this situation).
Choosing ActiveCampaign as your ESP when you’re first starting your business isn’t a smart decision. You run the risk of spending more money on the platform than you’re actually bringing in. ActiveCampaign is a platform you move to when you have a product or service with steady sales and a hefty goal of increasing those sales through automation (ie. online course or membership program).
HOW TO INTEGRATE WORDPRESS AND ACTIVECAMPAIGN
If I’ve sold you on ActiveCampaign, then let’s chat opt-in forms!
Start by logging in and clicking “Forms” in the left-hand menu.
On the next page click the blue “Create a form” button in the top right.
Depending on your plan you may see only 1 option or 4 options. These include Inline, Floating Bar, Floating Box, and Modal.
Before choosing your opt-in form type, give the form a name at the top.
Choose what happens to people who subscribe to this opt-in form using the drop down menus at the bottom. When someone opts in should they be added to a list? If so, which list? Or should they have a tag added to their contact? If so, which tag? Should they be added to a deal? Or should email results be sent to your email address? Maybe 2 of these things should happen. If that’s the case, click “Add an action” to add additional action steps.
Select your opt-in form type
Inline: This is best for opt-in forms that will sit in one single place on your website (ie. an opt-in form below the primary banner on your homepage).
Floating bar: This is best when you want website visitors to have the opportunity to opt into your email list without taking up primary real estate on your website (ie. download a freebie or join an upcoming event).
Floating box: This is best for a temporary, time sensitive opportunity that won’t be on your website 24/7 for the foreseeable future (ie. register for an upcoming event or get a discount on a service).
Modal: This is best when you want to be sure your website visitors see the opt-in (ie. download the freebie if you’re really trying to grow your email list).
Note: If you choose floating bar, floating box, or modal you’ll need to enter the website URL where you want the opt-in form to appear in the “Website URL” box before continuing.
Click “Create” after you’ve chosen your opt-in form type.
One difference between ActiveCampaign and other ESP is that ActiveCampaign doesn’t provide a list of templates for you to choose from. There is one single template to start from and make your own. After you’ve selected Inline form you will see the Inline form “template” you’ll start off with.
The right-hand menu will default to the “Fields” tab. Here you can choose which fields your website visitors need to fill out in order to join your list. My recommendation is to ask for the email address and first name. This way your subscriber doesn’t feel like just another email on your list but instead feels like you want to get to know them a bit. Asking for more information than this feels invasive so don’t go crazy.
If you do want to add more fields to the form, you can click and drag the fields from the right-hand menu into the template.
Click on the “Style” tab in the right-hand menu to edit the colors, fonts, etc. of the form.
Under Layout there are two options. The first option stacks the fields one on top of the other while the second option sets the fields in a horizontal line. Which you choose is dependent on where the opt-in form will appear on your website.
Scroll through and edit the settings for form style, button, and if you know custom CSS, feel free to add some into the Custom CSS box.
At the very bottom of the “Style” tab you may have the option to turn off ActiveCampaign branding.
If you’re on a plan that allows you to do this, turn it off to keep people from getting distracted by what ESP you use.
Next click on the “Options” tab in the right-hand menu.
First choose what happens when someone opts into your list. Are they going to see a success message or be directed to a custom URL (custom thank you page perhaps)?
If at the beginning you forgot to add an action to the opt-in form, you can update that here as well.
When your form is how you like it, click the blue “Integrate” button in the top right.
Here you have the option to embed the form using embed code, sharing a link to the form, installing the WordPress plugin, or adding it on Facebook.
After you’ve embedded your form, click “Save and exit” to complete it!
Floating Bar, Floating Box, or Modal
Floating Bar, Floating Box, and Modal all have similar settings.
Styling all of these forms is done in the same way as styling the Inline form. The only exception is the Floating Bar doesn’t have a “Layout” option.
After you’re finished updating the form to include your branding, click the “Options” tab. Here is where you set the functionality of the bar.
In the “Initial Effect” drop down, select whether you want the bar to slide in, fade in, or show instantly (none) when someone lands on your website.
From the “Show Delay” drop down, select whether you want the bar to show instantly (none) or show after someone has scrolled a certain percentage down the page.
Lastly, the “Position” drop down, select whether you want the floating bar on the top of the screen or the bottom of the screen. (Not an available setting for Modal.)
Under “Visibility” you can update the settings for what happens after someone interacts with the opt-in form.
Continue through the “Options” tab to update the fields, on submit, form action, and advanced settings.
Once the form is complete, click the blue “Integrate” button.
To embed the form, if you don’t have WordPress copy the embed code and paste this into the custom CSS of your theme or onto the pages you want the floating bar opt-in form to appear on. If you do have WordPress, install the plugin to add the opt-in form to your website.
You’ll notice we’re at the end and I haven’t walked you through how to create landing pages using ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign doesn’t have a landing page builder built into it. Instead, you can create landing pages on a platform like Leadpages and have Leadpages send subscribers to ActiveCampaign. Or another (free) way is to create landing pages on your website, remove the header and footer using code, and add an inline form to it.
Even without landing pages, ActiveCampaign is a powerful email service provider and customer relationship management platform in one. It’s built for automations, has powerful analytics, allows for complete A/B testing, is user-friendly, and has the drag and drop builder we all love. The pros of ActiveCampaign drastically outweigh the (very few) cons of ActiveCampaign. While expensive and an advanced system, it’s well worth it if you’ve outgrown a free platform like MailerLite.
That’s all for for WordPress and ActiveCampaign, part four of the four part email marketing series! (But I can promise you there will be plenty more email marketing posts coming soon.)
You Might Also Like…
- [Part 1 Email Marketing Series] WordPress and MailerLite Tutorial
- [Part 2 Email Marketing Series] WordPress and Mailchimp Tutorial
- [Part 3 Email Marketing Series] WordPress and ConvertKit Tutorial
- Best Places to Add Email Opt-Ins on Your Website
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